A Topsham boyhood

The Pym family have lived in Topsham since at least the 17th century. Dick ‘Pincher’ Pym was the sixth of nine children in a family of fishermen. He was born at a time when there was little work, and the town was impoverished. Every winter the poor queued at the soup kitchen.

“The man would put soup in your jug and give you a slice of bread, and that was for a penny in bad times. I always hoped to be given soup from the bottom of the pan because there were more peas there.”
Dick Pym

From the age of eight, Dick worked in the market gardens, picking fruit to be sent by rail to Covent Garden.

“I worked from 6.00-8.00 am, and for two hours after school. It was hard work, but it gave us a little extra money that we were glad of.”
Dick Pym

The Pyms were staunch Methodists and Dick signed the Pledge when he was nine. He neither drank nor smoked throughout his life.